The Pentagon’s long-horizon research and development wing is betting it can combine human and computer cyber defenders in a way that adds up to more than the sum of their parts.

The program, from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is called Computers and Humans Exploring Software Security, or CHESS.

The goal is to mix autonomous and semi-autonomous cybersecurity systems with human cyber experts who can work out some of the abstract problems that computers aren’t as good at solving. Brian Pearce, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, described the program to Nextgov on the sidelines of the RSA Cybersecurity conference in San Francisco Wednesday.

The idea for the program occurred to its director, Dustin Fraze, while watching a cybersecurity contest at the DEF CON hacking conference, Pearce told Nextgov.

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